Is it difficult to get unemployment when you are terminated?

UPDATED: Sep 19, 2011

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Is it difficult to get unemployment when you are terminated?

I was recently terminated from my job and my employer is saying I was fired for misconduct. They say I was continuously showing unprofessional behavior. I have spoken to 2 lawyers and both say I could sue for my job back but it probably wouldn’t be worth the time and effort because then they could just fire me for something else. I have a phone interview for unemployment and sometimes you have to fill out a questionnaire when you are discharged from your job is it a good or bad thing that I didn’t receive the questionnaire? Without unemployment I have absolutely no source of income.

Asked on September 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) Unless you had an employment contract, which limited the grounds for terminating you, it's unclear why you would have any ability to sue for reinstatement at all. Without a contract, you are an employee at will; an employee at will may be fired at any time, for any reason. So to disagree with the attorneys you spoke with, unless you had a contract, or can show you were discriminated against in being fired (e.g. you were fired because of your race, sex, religion, age over 40, disability), it is highly unlikely that suing would get you anything, including even short-term reinstatement.

2) If you are fired for cause, you can't get unemployment. Being fired for misconduct could be considered termination for cause. The unemployment office has no way of knowing that, though, unless the employer challenges your application for unemployment compensation. So whether you are eligible for unemployment or not depends largely on what  your employer says.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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